Having arrived in Sendsend with a caravan of goods from Dredena, the dye-maker Kartoosh and his companion Rabinagath Bador of Khosh find meagre lodgings at the inn and become acquainted with the young crewman Cloudwater, named after the trading cog he sailed in on. During the course of the evening the group learns something about each other and the next day Kartoosh and Rabinagath approach the captain of the Cloudwater and inquire about transport to Helas Girith. The captain, suspicious of the haughty Dredenian Kartoosh but respectful to the fellow merchant Rabinagoth agrees to give them passage on certain assurances and on Rabinagath’s vouchsafing that Kartoosh will not be a problem or liability.
Village of Sendsend on the Maysend river
Rabinagath, followed by Kartoosh explores the town, casually looking about for something he might be able to use as a staff which no one will mind going missing. He wanders to the outskirts of the settlement, leaving Kartoosh behind in the market, and finds a large wooden tripod next to an abandoned house, from which a cooking pot could be suspended over a fire. He takes one of the lengths of wood as his makeshift quarterstaff and pokes around a little more looking for anything of value, such as a pot, left behind. Finding no such thing he heads back towards the Cloudhopper.
Meanwhile, Zartoosh has wandered the market trying to familiarize himself with the architecture and stone work of this strange culture. He determines the Tandaseans build using a hard stone and mortar, but his skills fail him and he cannot determine the exact nature of the stone used. He looks at the nearby local grasses and plants to see if there is anything familiar he can identify but nothing is recognizable. At a herbal stall he tries again to identify what is for sale to little avail and asking the attendant all he gets in the cold shoulder.
On the boat, Cloudhopper after having climbed the mast of the ship to determine the local wind and get a better view of the town and where the two foreigners went, speaks with Captain Gnemoarshiz about possible shore leave. The captain tells him he doesn’t care what he does as long as he first helps finish load the goods and secure them to the deck. Cloudhopper acquiesces and helps lash the crates and barrels down. As he does so, he notices a few crates with Farusean labeling on them. He can’t quite make out what they say, but notes it a bit odd that any shipments from Farusea would come through Sendsend and not pass into Tandasea much further east. He takes a moment to copy down the labelling on parchment and then finishes his work.
Rabinagath returns to the Cloudhopper and asks Captain Gnemoarshiz if he is in need of a skilled cartographer, perhaps to supply needed maps and charts. There must have been something in the way Rabinagath approached this proposal, because the captain remembering his weather worn and fading charts jumps at the chance to have this strange man draw up replacement charts and even agrees to maybe pay something for the work if the product proves worthwhile. The captain supplies Rabinagath with his old charts, a pen and blank parchment and lets him get to work. Rabinagath then makes a point of committing as much of the charts to his formidable memory as possible as well as redrawing the most damaged versions.
Cloudhopper then wanders into the market and approaches the dusky Zartoosh who stands frustrated at the herbal stall. He arrives just as Zartoosh blurts out a very touch “Tobacco!” to the merchant who looks just as annoyed as ever. Cloudhopper then engages the salesman, who calls himself Geos, and buys some savoury spice, some curing salt and finally some tobacco from the man. Zartoosh, seeing the tobacco he was previously denied begins to ask again if he can have some. Again he gets the cold shoulder. Cloudhopper cuts in and mentions something about Zartoosh being Farusean, at which Zartoosh is incredibly offened and goes on a tirade in Dredenian and spits on the ground, grinding his heal into the dirt where he spat. Cloudhopper moves quickly to smooth the situation over and offers Zartoosh some of his tobacco and they move away from the stall…
From the Diaries of Rabinagath Bador:
The 6th of the Third Moon.
At long last this dreadfull caravan is over, of all the indignities my family has suffered none has been so grating as this latest journey over the sands. My caravan so full of promise was lost to me as I approached Drudenia two months ago. Penniless and indebted once again I was forced to join the caravan of the the Qi merchant and profiteer Feng as a mere baggage handler in order to earn my keep across the sands. Feng took a keen interest in my humiliation during these trying times. The only position he offered me was that of manure keeper. My blood boils in its veins with heat of my shame. In Drudenia however Feng himself was the misfortune one, for this now cursed land had no interest in his eastern trinkets and silks. He departed for home a poorer man for the efforts of his journey and I rest soundly when I imagine the crippling taxes he will face when he passes back through Khosh.
18th of then Third Moon.
Times are bad in Drudenia, the once proud houses are led by broken even maddened men. Whatever darkness scourged this land, has left it once again in Age of Dust. The oasi’ are dry, the valleys wilted the merchant banks depleted. No one here will lend me the money’s I need to return home. As my own resources are nearing their end I have decided to enter deeper into Tandesea looking for new products to sell in the east and investors to finance me.
The Fourth Moon
I’ve taken in with a Drudenian magician who fancies himself a learned man and doctor. He speaks constantly of his knowledge and potential while doing nothing but smoke his numbing leaf. However poor he is though he always finds provisions and being a man of the sands cannot leave another man without bread. He is a man lacking the shame due his lowely position, but he scarcely notices such deprivation. He sells concoctions of mud as medicine to the ignorant in exchange for the brown coins of this country which are not even worth their own weight in bread.
However his company is worthwhile.
Two on the road are safer and he knows this land better than I.
15th of the Forth moon,
After a long March we have arrived in Sandsend, a trivial market town at the end of the Tandesean sphere of trade. From here we wish to obtain passage to the capital of the province by river craft.
16th of the Forth moon
At long last fortune shines on me again, today a river boat protentiously named the Cloudhopper docked in Sandsend. The captain, a reasonable man, saw promise in me and has agreed to bring myself and my Drudenian with him on his return to the capital.
Interestingly these water folk are wiser than they at first seem. They captain has proven to be a generous and reasonable if remarkably gutless man. While dealing in limited goods he is a trader of some sophistication I notice.
The captain has a reasonable collection of maps and and charts, albeit in dreadfull condition, that he has gullibly allowed me to correct and clean up for him. Thinking little of their worth he has unwittingly let a fellow merchant see these most prized possessions and bizarrely even offered me compensation for their adjustment. Obviously I have altered several key locations on the caravan routes to protect them from Tandesean merchants and spent every conceivable effort in memorising these charts.